can the executor of my Last Will and Testament and the bequest be the same person

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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can the executor of my Last Will and Testament and the bequest be the same person

I am making out my Last Will and Testament. I bought a do it yourself kit I
found listed in a magazine. The information packet states it’s good for all 50
states and it is easy to follow

Asked on January 4, 2017 under Estate Planning, Massachusetts


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

Most states do not have any laws against a beneficiary of a Will also serving as the executor. The fact is that this situation is not uncommon. However, there are certain considerations to take into account if you name an executor who is also a beneficiary of the estate. For example, the job of an executor is to pay debts and taxes of the estte, then distribute the balance of the assests to the beneficiaries. In this situation (i.e. executor/beneficiary), this creates a conflict of interest since in effect the beneficiary is to disburse funds from the estate that would otherwise go to them if those debts were not paid. Accordingly, if a beneficiary is named as executor, the testator (i.e. the person making the Will) should consider also naming a co-executor to provide a second opinion if any conflicts of interest should arise.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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